Japan introduced a $275 billion stimulus package today, pausing to assign blame to the US. Each family will get a check and there will be loans and tax credits for small businesses.
The IMF is fielding "rescue" requests and granted the requests of Ukraine, Iceland and Hungary, so far. There was a suggestion, if not flat out requests that certain countries pony up and contribute more to the IMF. China, expeditiously and respectfully declined, asserting that unless or until the management participation is more equitable (the US and Europe perhaps being overly represented), China would not consider it.
Guess they've got it like that. Remember a couple of weeks ago when a digit had to be added to the debt clock? The US is in something like $13 trillion debt right now; guess who holds the note?
In Politics, Cynthia McCain has a new, more flattering, JackieO-esque hair do. They're pulling out all the stops. John McCain has been practically giddy lately--he even giggled today! I don't know if its the meds or he knows something we don't. Actually, when he giggled, he was on the stump reading a speech. It was as though he was genuinely tickled, reading the line for the first time.
So, Obama had a tv show last night. My initial reaction was: "This Dude is SO, SO, EXTRA!! It really is beyond extraordinary what this campaign has done to presidential politics, to this Democracy. First of all, his appeal is unparalleled in its universality. Fact. Others can debate why, but no one can deny that no other political candidate has EVER galvanized the populace and raised anywhere near as much money as Barack Obama. The question is, given the muck that all of us are mired in, that's spreading around the world, due to the abuses that the Bush Adminstration has perpetrated or perpetuated, can any politician who's been in Washington for decades be trusted to really upset the status quo? Lobbyists (i.e., "special interests" offer fat incentives. Surely Barack Obama has taken contributions from lobbyists as well, but I'm guessing given the relative short time he's been on the national scene, he's taken less than any of the other former Democratic nominee contenders.
My second reaction was to the line where he said he was formed more from his father's absence than his presence. They cut away to that picture we always see of Obama and his Dad, and Obama mentioned (I'm pretty sure) that he'd met his Dad once when he was 10. First, I read that his Dad visited when he was 2, and I think there are pictures,but what does a 47 year old remember from when he was 2?
Really striking, though, was the distance he conveyed right up front, from his black African father. It may have been as pricklish as it was necessary.
After that, I got swept up. McCain called Barack Obama: American Story romantic and it was. Though I know, and you know and everybody knows that no one -- not even Barack Obama -- has a magic wand to wave to make everything okay, Barack Obama exudes a comfortable authenticity, a seductive sincerity, that we can trust him. There's gotta be a way that he can be held accountable. Not that he's offered any reason to be called to account any sooner than the 4 year , interim all Presidents enjoy, but because so many more are participating in this process than ever before. Hundreds of thousands more people have already voted early than have ever voted (period, in the case of North Carolina) because they respond, personally, to something Barack Obama has said, or proposed. We've been led for the past 8 years as one would expect to be led by the likes of those who steal elections--with the complete, utter, unapologetic disregard for most of the US citizenry's wellbeing. Now that we wander dazed in the ruins of collapsing expectations, with depleted retirement accounts and less or no work and/or pay, we need someone calming and trustworthy to mitigate the shock. Thus far, ego well in check, he seems worthy of the trust.
My next reaction was a familiar one, though I savor the taste of the kool aid swishing around my mouth: how are you (we) going to pay for all this great stuff?!
After that I reacted when seeing him on Jon Stewart later, imagining how exhausted he must be, when he said, "the treehuggers". Seemed an unfortunate, perhaps telling slip to me, but he recovered well and without probing.
Can you believe they've actually got this Joe the Plumber guy on the stump now? Talk about pulling out all the stops! I swear the next campaign will be avatars, totally scripted on Second Life with ads available on YouTube.
Finally, it seems SOMEONE's listening to me :)) Maryland and Virginia are doing away with electronic voting machines in upcoming elections. They're back to paper! Hopefully it's the beginning of a trend...